Master of the ship
Pioneering cruise company, Pandaw, is offering families and groups of friends the chance to be master of their own ship on the exotic rivers and coasts of Southeast Asia.
Pandaw’s small but powerful shallow-draught ships, allow the cruise company to reach remote areas that other operators cannot and, now, customers can charter their own ship and carve out a bespoke itinerary in a choice of breath-taking destinations, including Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China.
All 16 – soon to be 17 – ships in the Pandaw fleet can be privately hired and they range in size from the intimate, five-cabin, RV Kalay Pandaw, sleeping up to 10 guests, to the 30-cabin RV Orient Pandaw and RV Indochina Pandaw, sleeping up to 60. Onboard, guests are wined and dined by expert staff offering authentic local cuisine, enchanted by the local culture and sights on daily excursions, and entertained with on-board activities and cultural performances as they cruise the greatest waterways in Asia. Every ship is equipped with mountain bikes, ideal for families who want to explore each port of call.
Chartering their own ship allows customers to enjoy a truly bespoke cruise, deciding on the duration and route that the itinerary takes, in collaboration with Pandaw’s expert team. Alternatively, guests can opt to follow one of Pandaw’s existing itineraries on their private charter, for example, Pagan and the Upper Irrawaddy or The Chindwin in Burma, the Halong Bay And Red River route in Vietnam, the Classic Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia or The Mekong: From Laos to China.
In addition to its traditional, off-the-beaten-track river cruise itineraries, Pandaw now offers a coastal cruise around Burma’s Mergui Archipelago, aboard the MY Andaman Explorer. A glamorously restored, classic 1960s motor yacht, the Andaman Explorer can be hired privately and features 10 generously proportioned suites, with separate sitting room area and private bathrooms. The ship, which sleeps up to 20 people is floored with Carrara marble throughout and boasts a saloon, dining room and two teak observation decks.
On the Andaman Explorer, families or groups of friends can choose to sail Pandaw’s established, seven-night ‘Mergui Archipelago’ itinerary or the new 10-night ‘Burma Coastal Voyage’. Alternatively, Pandaw can tailor-make an itinerary allowing guests to visit the locations that most interest them, stay longer at one port of call or move on, as the mood
takes them. The ship carries kayaks and snorkelling equipment, allowing guests to get up close to marine life as they explore the islands, beaches and coastal ports.
Highlights of the Mergui Archipelago voyages include Naung Wee island where guest can visit a sea gypsy village, Lampi Marine National Park with its mangrove forests and diverse bird life, the Nga Man group of one hundred and fifteen islands and Cockscomb Island with its limestone caves and hidden lagoon. The ‘Burma Coastal Voyage’ will depart from Burma’s largest city Yangon, cruising south to the Mergui Archipelago.